Overseas aid: the 0.7% target

Between 2013 and 2020, the UK met an international target to spend 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) on overseas aid. A 2015 act enshrined this in legislation. In response to the economic impact of coronavirus, the Government has said that aid spending will temporarily reduce to 0.5% of GNI from 2021. Some commentators have argued this requires further primary legislation. The Government has announced the tests that must be met to restore spending to 0.7%.

Overseas aid: the 0.7% target

Cadet forces: funding and social impact

The cadet forces are voluntary youth organisations that are based on the traditions of the armed forces but are not part of them. The Government says they offer “challenging and enjoyable activities”. They receive some government funding. Independent analysis suggests that they provide benefits both for participants and wider society. An ongoing government scheme aims to increase the number of cadet units in state schools.

Cadet forces: funding and social impact
  • In Focus

    Devolution and government relations

    Two reports published in March 2021 concern UK ‘intergovernmental relations’ (IGR), the mechanisms through which the UK and devolved governments interact. First, the Dunlop Review made recommendations on how the UK Government should restructure to enhance its capabilities on matters affecting the union. Second, an update on a review of IGR being undertaken jointly by the four governments described progress in negotiations. The reports are being debated together on 1 July 2021.

  • In Focus

    Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]

    The Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced by Lord Bird (Crossbench), inspired by legislation passed in Wales in 2015. It aims to ensure UK policymaking accounts for the interests of future generations. The House of Lords has debated the subject twice in recent years. The bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 25 June 2021.

  • In Focus

    Finance Bill

    The Finance Bill is a government bill intended to give lasting statutory effect to the tax measures announced in the March 2021 budget. The bill underwent a series of changes in its passage through the House of Commons. The House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee criticised a draft of the bill in some specific areas. The Government accepted some of the committee’s recommendations but rejected others.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech: economic affairs, business and Covid-19 recovery

    Coronavirus vaccine programmes are improving the economic outlook, but rising cases in some countries are affecting global activity. This article discusses the outlook for key economic variables. It then summarises the Government’s policies for the economy as it recovers from the pandemic. Finally, it lists a number of possible bills or areas for legislation, related to the economy and business, which might feature in the Queen’s speech.

  • In Focus

    Biodiversity

    Declines in biodiversity could lead to economic and political instability and potentially threaten the survival of life on earth. The Government has taken a range of steps to counter biodiversity loss, although measures of success are mixed. The independent Dasgupta review has recommended placing monetary values on natural capital. Two forthcoming international conferences provide opportunities for further global initiatives on biodiversity.

  • In Focus

    Net zero and integrated policymaking

    In June 2019, the UK legislated to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which advises government on emissions targets, stated that the target “requires extensive changes across the economy”. To achieve this, the CCC and others have called for better coordination of net zero policies within central government, with local and devolved governments and with other public bodies.

  • In Focus

    Government investment programmes: the ‘green book’

    The Government’s ‘green book’ describes how major public sector investment projects are assessed. In March 2020, the Government announced a review of the approach, to improve how the green book supports strategic priorities such as its ‘levelling up’ agenda and the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The review’s conclusions were published in November 2020, followed by a revised green book in December 2020.

  • In Focus

    Mesothelioma and pneumoconiosis: Uprating compensation payment rates

    Mesothelioma and pneumoconiosis are diseases primarily affecting industrial and construction workers. Sufferers are eligible for government compensation schemes if they cannot claim civil damages against their employers. Two sets of regulations would increase the amounts payable by 0.5 percent from 1 April 2021, in line with inflation and the uprating being applied to other disability benefits.